The Beast of Manchester Poetry. A site for discussion of all things related to poetry, religion, life in general.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Boxing Day Thoughts
So what have I learned this year? It's been a year of ups and downs. The biggest down of course was that my mother died. Even thought it was really expected from the beginning of the year. The euphemism "after a long illness" hides the truth of th long slow decline of dementia; by the end, my mother was barely existing, and I have sometimes the strangest feeling that in her last fortnight, she was allowing herself to go. When the doctor placed her on a care pathway, she took just a few hours to die.
When I was doing Christmas shopping I would see the odd thing that made me think, "Mum would like that." A collection of the Bee Gees, for instance. She'd have loved that.
Writing wise, happier times I think. I'm continually glad to have found the company and acceptance of the more experimental writing community. I know it sometimes annoys people of a more mainstream persuasion, that I sometimes make comments that reflect the old binary oppositions. I know also that my own writing is probably nowhere near the farthest edge of the experimental. I use techniques that are perhaps already a hundred years old; but I continue to feel more at home among the more exploratory writing community than with those who want to emulate Simon Armitage or the latest Faber poet.
The Other Room, and Writers Forum (North) have been hugely important for my development as a writer, because they give me ideas, they are relatively unjudgemental and they have helped to increase my awareness of neo-modernist writing by leaps and bounds. It was a real thrill to be part of the ensemble performance of Bob Cobbing's ABC in Sound, for instance. Bob Cobbing will never be flavour of the month; he's far too extreme for most people, and I can understand why. It just doesn't look like proper poetry does it?
But I'm also glad that I became part of North West Poets, and the forthcoming anthology is going to be fantastic. There's an incredibly mixed bunch of writers involved in it; which is really how it should be. I'm tired of homogeneity; I want variety. I don't mind if someone has written a sonnet on one page, and someone else is tearing up the rule book on another. Confusion isn't always a bad thing; and not understanding completely leads forward if you let it. Unfamiliarity is a spur to discovery; either that or it sends you back under the covers. Difficulty doesn't patronise the reader.
So I'm going out of this year thinking, what's next? I don't know and I love not knowing.
I'm a poet with several books out, the latest being Calling Myself on the Phone (available from www.poetrybusiness.co.uk) and Travelator (available from www.saltpublishing.com and with poems on the net and in magazines. I teach creative writing and run workshops, and I read my poems in public at any given opportunity. I also occassionally paint.